Current Affairs - 10 September 2022

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3 Indian Cities in UNESCO Network of Learning Cities

Recently, three cities in India have joined the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities. These include two cities Thrissur and Nilambur in Kerala and Warangal in Telangana.

About the Cities

Thrissur - Cultural Capital of Kerala

  • Popularly known as the cultural capital of Kerala, Thrissur is home to academic and research institutions. It is also known for its jewellery industry, especially gold.
  • As a member of the UNESCOI GNLC, Thrissur hopes to contribute to the intellectual and peer learning processes, focusing on equitable access to learning for all, digital learning ecosystems and skills for sustainability.
  • Thrissur ticked UNESCO’s check boxes in aspects of good practices, equity and inclusion among other factors. For eg, the presence of a MSME-Development Institute of India regional centre in Thrissur offers institutional support in promoting decent work and entrepreneurship through upskilling.

Nilambur- Kerala’s Eco-Tourism Destination

  • It is a city with various socio-economic patterns marked by an urban and rural mix. The majority of the population depends on agriculture and allied industries.
  • The city offers free healthcare facilities to all citizens and utilizes health volunteers to provide door-to-door treatment for bedded patients. It also promotes first-aid training for students and young citizens.
  • Nilambur aims to promote sustainable development, gender equality, inclusivity and democracy through community ownership.
  • It also aims to ensure employment opportunities and UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2, ‘zero hunger’.

Warangal- The Tourism Spot

  • The city is a major tourism venue, welcoming 3.2 million tourists every year. Warangal’s economy is primarily composed of agricultural, industrial and service sectors.
  • The city promotes equity and inclusion, for which it has implemented several strategies, including Women and Child Welfare policy, Urban Policy, and the creation of an advisory committee to monitor and evaluate the impact of initiatives on marginalized groups.

About UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC)

  • Launched in 2013 by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, the key objective of UNESCO GNLC is to promote social cohesion, economic development and sustainability in urban areas.
  • As part of this, the institute recognizes cities which promote lifelong learning among local communities and connects them with each other for knowledge transfer.
  • In 2019, UNESCO made Sustainable Development Goals part of its core policy framework and it was adopted as one of the key ingredients of UNESCO GNLC.
  • In line with this, the cities that are identified and inducted under Learning Network also have to comply with all 17 SDGs, especially SDG 4 (‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’) and SDG 11 (‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’).

What is a Learning City?

According to UNESCO, a learning city is one that-

  • effectively mobilizes its resources in every sector to promote inclusive learning from basic to higher education;
  • revitalizes learning in families and communities;
  • facilitates learning for and in the workplace;
  • extends the use of modern learning technologies;
  • enhances quality and excellence in learning;
  • fosters a culture of learning throughout life.

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